Ohio's Groce heads to Illinois

March 29, 2012

Illinois will announce John Groce as men's basketball coach at a press conference expected Thursday afternoon.

Groce, who led Ohio University to 29 wins and took the Bobcats to the Sweet 16, where they lost in overtime to North Carolina, would earn an annual salary of at least $1.35 million and bring most of his coaching staff with him from the Mid-American Conference champion. Groce was paid $355,000 last season and his contract includes a $200,000 buyout.

Groce, 40, was 85-56 at Ohio, was an assistant at Ohio State under Thad Matta from 2004-2008 and was heavily involved in recruiting the key players on the 2007 Final Four team, including Greg Oden and Mike Conley. Groce was also a Matta assistant at Butler and Xavier.

Bruce Weber was fired March 9 after nine seasons.


Illinois made a play for Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart and then attempted to hire Brad Stevens away from Butler. Both coaches turned down a package worth more than $2 million annually, according to multiple reports.